A Letter from the Fashion School Director

Fashion School Director J.R. Campbell looking on during the 2018 Annual Fashion Show


As I work on all of the preparations for transitioning away from my role as the director of the Fashion School into the executive director of the Design Innovation Initiative at Kent State, I must admit, I am having a hard time both mentally and emotionally stepping back from helping to lead what I believe to be the best Fashion School in the world.  I know there are many other amazing fashion schools/programs that have a great impact, but I truly believe the mix of ‘features’ of the Fashion School at Kent State University represent the most effective blend of supporting critical rigor, skill development, experiential education, research through practice, global engagement and industry partnership.  We do this not just with our enviable resources and locations, but more with our dedicated, insightful and visionary faculty, staff and students.  Together we create an ethos that is at once genuine/authentic and diverse/eclectic.  It is a community that is open and accessible and is driven by the passions of nearly 2000 people whom I would describe as “inspiring creative and resourceful fashion leaders.”  


The Fashion School has had a huge impact on me; one that I hope has led more towards a tendency of compassionate and thoughtful social justice.  It may seem like these are strange things to focus on when referring to a Fashion School, but they are not.  Fashion, as a discipline, is all about the intersections, beliefs, experiences and the desires of each of us as humans.  What we collectively craft as designers, merchants and business leaders in the fashion industry is the most direct interface between the human form and the outside world.  It is both beautifully trivial at the same moment that it is epically necessary.  It gives us a platform to express and communicate across art, science and technology.  


I hope to stay deeply connected to this school, even as I move into a broader university initiative, but I am excited to see what the next director brings as much as I am to see how this great group of leaders who are already here will continue to move the school into the future.  I’d like to say thanks to each of you (students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors, partners and friends) for making my nine years in the director role so amazing.  Special thanks to Kim Hahn, for the thoughtful leadership you provide and for being willing to serve as the interim director as the school prepares for the next stage!


To each of you: please come and get involved in the Design Innovation activities as they start to formalize in the coming months/year!!


All the Best, 


J.R. Campbell

Professor & Director, The Fashion School

Kent State University

POSTED: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 11:40 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2023 07:47 PM